People & Places: November 2022

People & Places is a monthly highlight of the ongoing professional activities and achievements of faculty, staff, and students of the College.

Noel Oullette ’24 has been awarded a Paleontology in the Parks Fellowship. Oullette and his faculty mentor, Associate Professor of Biology & Geology Lisa Whitenack, will collaborate with the National Parks Service (NPS) and Dr. Christy Visaggi of the Paleontological Society to inventory and evaluate coastal and shoreline National Park fossils. The project will help inform NPS staff on managing non-renewable paleontological resources in coastal and shoreline areas within parks.

At the end of the project, the team will write two comprehensive paleontological resource inventory reports — one for the public and one for internal use by the NPS — and present their findings at one of the Geological Society of America conferences. As part of the fellowship, Oullette will also write an article for the Park Paleontology Newsletter and participate in service-supporting education and outreach.

Wendy Kedzierski

Creek Connections Director Wendy Kedzierski recently attended the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Conference in Tucson, Arizona, and was a panelist of grantees who completed projects from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-21st Century Community Learning Centers Watershed STEM Education Partnership Grants program. These grants were awarded through NAAEE in partnership with NOAA, supported by the U.S. Department of Education.

Kaitlyn Royal
Kaitlyn Royal ’24 was selected as a Salt Watcher of the Month through the Izaak Walton League for her work to educate middle school students about the impact of excess road salt on waterways and aquatic life. Through Creek Connections, Royal has been leading students to participate in the Salt Watch program for about three years. Earlier this month, Royal joined Izaak Walton League employee Abby Hileman ’16 in a Salt Watch webinar to discuss their work to educate young people about road salt pollution and advocate for change among adults and local governments. Royal is a biology and environmental science & sustainability double major with a minor in education studies.

Cartel VII Foro Social ODEMCA
Professor of Political Science Shannan Mattiace and Guillermo Trejo (University of Notre Dame) were invited by the Latin American Studies Association to submit an essay for a special issue of the LASA Forum (Fall 2022) on criminal governance in Latin America. The essay is entitled “Dynamics of Indigenous Resistance to Criminal Governance: the CRAC-PC System in Southern Mexico.” LASA Forum is the professional magazine of the Latin American Studies Association. 

Mattiace and Trejo were also invited to present their essay at the 7th Social Forum on Other Democracies in Chiapas, Mexico (virtual presentation) on October 25, 2022.

Associate Professor of History Guo Wu presented his paper titled “How Can Animals as Moral Agents Inspire Humans—Revisiting the Transmission of the Jātaka into China” to the conference The Dharma-Ending Age: The Climate Crisis through the Lens of Buddhist Eschatology, Past and Present organized by the University of British Columbia, Canada. The conference also invited Wu to serve as a discussant for a panel titled “Buddhist Eschatology? Historical Perspectives.”

Associate Professor of Biology & Geology Lisa Whitenack co-authored the conclusion to the new book Minorities in Shark Sciences: Diverse Voices in Shark Research. The book showcases the work done by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color around the world of shark science and conservation.

Edited by three minority researchers, it provides positive role models for the next generation, highlighting new and important research done in biology, ecology, and evolution. The book emphasizes scientists with diverse backgrounds and expertise from around the world. The conclusion to the book talks about allyship and what good (and bad) acts of allyship look like. This book is published by CRC Press (ISBN 9781032196947).

Associate Professor of Biology & Geology Lisa Whitenack and Brady Mickley ’22 (ESS) are excited to announce their paper “A content analysis of 32 years of Shark Week documentaries” in PLOS ONE. Along with co-authors from the University of Delaware, Florida Atlantic University, University of Miami, and Arizona State University, Whitenack and Mickley watched 201 episodes of Shark Week content across the annual event’s 32 years of programming.

Their research documented the sharks’ species, filming localities, research featured, scientists featured, and messaging around sharks and shark conservation. Whitenack et al. found that a higher-than-expected diversity of species were featured. However, they also found that Shark Week’s depiction of research and experts was biased toward a small set of (typically visual and expensive) research and (mostly white, male) experts. With limited conservation messaging, sharks were also often portrayed more negatively than positively.

Susie Herz with research poster at conference
Susie Herz ’23 presented research she conducted through Oregon State’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program this past summer at the Geological Society of America’s annual conference in Denver in October. She presented her research in poster form, and her research advisor presented their work at an invited keynote session. Herz is a geology and environmental science & sustainability double major.

Professor of English and Director of Writing Alexis Hart and her team of international researchers’ book chapter “‘There is a Lot of Overlap’: Tracing Writing Development Across Spheres of Writing” was recently published in the edited collection Writing Beyond the University: Preparing Lifelong Learners for Lifewide Writing, part of Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning Open Access Series.

In early November, Professor of English Christopher Bakken served as Conférencier Invité International at the University of Clermont Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Bakken offered several public lectures and met with graduate students working on translating his poems into French.

For the first public lectures, Bakken was asked to speak about the cross-cultural tensions in creative work spanning his career. For the second lecture, titled “Writing Under the Influence of Patrick Leigh Fermor,” Bakken discussed prose style and the complexities of memoir in the work of the British travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor; a print version of that lecture will be published later this year in the French journal Viatica.

Bakken also has new poetry forthcoming in The Southern Review and Plume.

Executive Director of Career Education Brian Collingwood was appointed to the Principles for Ethical Professional Practice Committee with the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). This committee ensures that the ethical standards and practices for more than 15,000 association members are current, relevant, equitable, and inclusive.

Grant Dowden ’26 and Blake Vowler ’25 presented the poster “Creek Connections” at the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium (PERC) Annual Conference, held at Penn State University, describing their work in environmental education.

Several Allegheny Environmental Science & Sustainability (ESS) students and faculty recently presented at the 18th Annual Regional Science Symposium at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie, PA.

Ariana Clark ’23, advised by ESS Professor Eric Pallant and Art Professor Heather Brand, presented her senior thesis, “How can my photographs make people appreciate Allegheny College’s environment,” which focuses on ways to use photographic images of campus to enhance appreciation of the campus environment.

The following presented “Occurrence of beech leaf disease in American beech (Fagus grandifolia) across tree size class in northwestern Pennsylvania,” describing a newly introduced parasite that threatens beech trees:

  • Trey Adams ’23
  • Robert Amsdell ’23
  • Katherine Brozell ’23
  • Tiaralei Cade ’23
  • Nina Claudio ’23
  • Anna Corso ’23
  • Mary Dosch ’23
  • Austin Ferguson ’23
  • Jake Folaron ’25
  • Haley Hersh ’23
  • Alexandria Hunt ’24
  • Seth Jones ’23
  • E. Kerr ’23
  • Emmett Manning ‘24
  • Brooke Michael ’23
  • Katherine Mowry ’23
  • Savanna Olsen ’24
  • Ashlynn Peachey ’23
  • Rachel Walters ’23
  • Professor Richard Bowden

The following presented the poster “Growing a Resilient Campus Forest,” describing Allegheny’s efforts to develop a resilient forest ecosystem on campus. This poster was also presented at the PERC Annual Conference:

  • Olivia C. Ave ’24
  • Kinsley R. Greenlaw ’23
  • Hana B. Kneiser ’24
  • Jenna R. Lutz ’24
  • Sebastian McRae ’22
  • Molly A. Miller ’24
  • Katherine Mowry ’23
  • Kevin T. Murphy ’24
  • Nicholas Waddington ’23
  • Daniel Torrance ’25
  • Assistant Professor Jesse Swann-Quinn
  • Professor Eric Pallant
  • Professor Richard D. Bowden
  • Sustainability Director Kelly Boulton ’02
  • Physical Plant Director Joe Michael

Anna Corso ’23, advised by ESS Professor Eric Pallant, presented her senior thesis work, “The Filthy Truth: An Environmental Justice Analysis of Public Beaches in Cleveland,” describing inequities in beach quality among different neighborhoods. This poster was also presented recently at the 2022 PERC Annual Conference.

Eva Kerr ’23, advised by ESS Professors Kelly Pearce and Casey Bradshaw-Wilson, presented her senior thesis, “Determination of terrestrial salamander diversity relative to edge habitats and sampling type on conserved properties in Northwestern Pennsylvania.” Her work informs the French Creek Valley Conservancy on amphibian conservation strategies.

Maggie Baham ’23, advised by ESS Professors Kelly Pearce and Chris Shaffer, presented her senior thesis on the “Impact of Human Activity Levels on Coyote Temporal Behaviors on Presque Isle State Park.” This work will guide the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources wildlife management efforts.

Jake Folaron ’25, ESS Biologist Mark A. Kirk, and ESS Professors Kelly Pearce and Casey Bradshaw-Wilson presented “Tributary and mainstem habitat use of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) in the East Branch Sugar Creek watershed.” Non-native brown trout usually outcompete the native brook trout for available resources.

Briana Sebastian ’24, ESS Biologist Mark A. Kirk, and ESS Professors Kelly Pearce and Casey Bradshaw-Wilson presented “Instream habitat improvement, monitoring, and plans in the French Creek watershed.” The presentation described efforts to develop research-based habitat restoration.

Photo Caption: Examining tree health in study of beech leaf disease at Allegheny’s forests. Photo by Richard Bowden